Aces newcomer Justin Sedgmen strongly believes his move to Belle Vue could prove fundamental in his quest to unlock his full European potential and has tipped club boss Mark Lemon as the key.
Initial concerns surrounding the Australian No.2’s career in Britain first arose in the off-season when former club Swindon informed him that he would not be in their 2017 team-building plans.
But far from disheartened, this setback only served to inspire the 25-year old’s performance in his native national championships, where he was determined to put in the job application of a lifetime.
He said: “I was happy with my results in the first three rounds but so gutted with my performance at Kurri Kurri, particularly as I didn’t lose a single race in the Jason Crump Invitational 3 weeks earlier.
“I made the A-Finals in Adelaide, Mildura and Undera, and I won the latter round overall. But I just couldn’t seem to get going around Loxford Park. I don’t know why, I know I’m more than capable.
“I just couldn’t put a race win together. Maybe it was the pressure of having Sam Masters breathing down my neck in the standings. But it’s not the end of the world, and Sam is a worthy champ.”
After wrapping up his Aussie title chase with the silver medal, Sedgmen made plans to return to the UK where he hoped to secure his visa for the upcoming season, and a team place along with it.
He continued: “My visa was set to expire on January 25. If I didn’t have a club by then, I had 60 days to find one. At that point I honestly didn’t think I was going to be racing in the UK this year.
“But I’ve been working quite a bit with Terry and Wayne Russell, who were very helpful in getting my visa sorted, and Mark Lemon in particular, who comes from the same town as me in Aussie.
“We’ve spent the last three or four months bouncing ideas off each other and I think with what he’d seen of me in the national championships, it was enough to encourage him to bring me on board.
“If anyone can get the best out of me this season it’s Mark Lemon. There’s a lot of history between our families. His parents used to sponsor my dad, Gavin, when he raced speedway in Australia.
“So there’s already a very strong connection there, and I’ve found that more than once in the past whenever I’ve been in regular contact with him I’ve always seemed to ride really well in Britain.
“It’s not just about what he can do for me though because I also want to see what I can do for him. He’s not just the team manager. He’s my friend and I don’t want to let one of my mates down.”
Words: Hayley Bromley
Image: Steve Hone